AfDB and Google partner to transform $115bn African digital economy

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Google have deepened their partnership to advance Africa’s burgeoning digital economy, as recently announced on the AfDB website.

Africa’s digital economy is valued at $115 billion and is forecasted to reach $712 billion by 2050.

Driving Africa’s Digital Growth

This collaboration was formalized through the signing of a Letter of Intent during the Global Africa Business Initiative at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The agreement highlights the shared commitment of both organizations to harness emerging technologies, enhance infrastructure, refine talent and skills on the continent, and promote digital evolution.

Akinwumi Adesina, the President of AfDB, emphasized the bank’s significant investment of $1.9 billion in projects over the past decade.

These investments have been directed towards developing broadband infrastructure, creating a conducive policy and regulatory environment, nurturing digital skills, and supporting innovative technology start-ups.

Adesina pointed out the journey from a mere 2% telephony penetration in 1998 to today’s era of 4G, 5G, and AI, signifying tremendous progress.

He underscored AfDB’s focus on catalyzing businesses to generate jobs and offer innovative solutions, particularly given that 70% of sub-Saharan Africans are under 30 years old.

Adesina highlighted Google’s pivotal role in Africa’s economic growth and digital transformation.

Google’s Role in Africa’s Transformation

He noted Google’s investment in the Seacom cable, a significant submarine telecommunications cable, back in 2005.

Since then, Google has been steadfast in supporting talent development, innovation, infrastructure, and regulatory advancements across the continent.

Adesina outlined the collaborative efforts between AfDB and Google, with Google providing technical assistance to empower entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises in digitizing their businesses, accessing financing, mastering digital marketing, and advancing private sector development.

Dr. James Manyika, Google’s Senior Vice President of Research, Technology, and Society, emphasized the immense potential of advanced technologies like AI, suggesting that the most profound transformation was yet to come.

He stressed the importance of collaboration to seize this opportunity, ensuring that progress benefits everyone and leaves no one behind.

Dr. Manyika expressed excitement about collaborating with the African Development Bank to work toward their shared commitment.

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